Youth equestrians like Sophia Riscavage (above, left) of Meshoppen and Raelyn Jennings of Laceyville filled the arena at the Wyoming County Fairgrounds (top) during a recent EMRC event. (Photos by Emily Hare and Jacqui Hunter)
Courtesy Endless Mountains Media Services
The Endless Mountains Riding Club (EMRC) will host a Children’s Horse Show at the Wyoming County Fairgrounds west of Meshoppen on Saturday, Aug. 29. Theirs is among many efforts by private organizations to keep youths involved with agriculture and animal husbandry engaged during the coronavirus pandemic.
“With the halt in 4-H this year, we are doing everything we can to help the future,” said Jacqui Hunter of Laceyville, president of the EMRC. Since the Penn State Extension cannot conduct programming right now due to COVID-19 concerns, parents of 4-H children and the leaders of organizations in Bradford, Susquehanna, Wyoming and Lackawanna counties have been working together to coordinate and seek out activities that approximate what 4-H would be offering. They have also donated some of the prizes for the 16 division champions.
“We are doing the best we can to keep the costs down for the kids,” Hunter related. Some might take for granted the costs incurred for everything from water and ribbons for participants to fees for professional judges, stewards, timers and scribes and logistics like the sound system, jumps and obstacles, portable restrooms, and tractors for grooming of the arena and removal of animal waste.
EMRC board members are grateful for donations from Blue Stone Valley Acres, Cabot Oil & Gas, H&R Block, Jeff Ide Equine Dentistry, Milnes Breeding Facility, North Winds Veterinary, Quarter Acres Farm, and Top Hand Equine Sports that help cover operating expenses and other materials. The Wyoming County Fairground committee is donating the use of its facilities for the Children’s Horse Show.
For Saturday’s event, there are 57 classes from English and Western to gaming and minis, Hunter explained. These include classes for children with special needs, as well as beginners. Gates open at 8 a.m., competition begins at 9, and more than 100 youths are anticipated to participate. The Wyoming County Dairy Princess and other dairy royalty are expected to make a visit.
“The event will be run simultaneously in two arenas, and the public is invited,” Hunter explained. “The facility is so big that people can sit safely apart without an issue.” Additional precautions for participants and guests include hand sanitizing stations, plexiglass at the registration window, and changing out of obstacles.
Acknowledging that the return to school will be challenging enough for the youths, the Endless Mountains Riding Club and the event sponsors hope the Children’s Horse Show will provide a fitting end to what has been an unusual spring and summer. Those who cannot attend Saturday’s event might consider contributing to the EMRC’s mission by following them on Facebook or calling Hunter at 570-250-6814.
A father assists his son in a competition for one of the youngest age groups.
Bailey Millard and Sage Bach, of Harford and Auburn townships, respectively, during a recent EMRC competition at the fairgrounds.
Rylie Gilbert-Hewitt of Forest Lake received the Sportsman Award at EMRC’s last event for her attitude, help and support of fellow riders.